Mum voices Covid shielding concerns - The Rugby Observer

Mum voices Covid shielding concerns

Rugby Editorial 21st Jul, 2020 Updated: 21st Jul, 2020   0

A MUM from Rugby whose son has a rare muscle-wasting condition has shared her experiences of shielding from Covid-19 and her concerns as it is paused in England.

Hayley Lloyd’s 14-year-old son Tommy has a condition called limb girdle muscular dystrophy, which means he is at higher risk of Covid-19. The pair started shielding on March 9.

Ahead of shielding being paused on August 1 in England, Hayley is urging members of the public to remember some people who are out may be at high risk of Covid-19. People who have been shielding still need to practise socially distancing at two metres or more – as opposed to the one-metre-plus rule for others.

The 45-year-old said: “We have now been shielding for more than four months and have not rejoined society in any way. We still have our shopping done for us and I’m unsure quite how we will have the confidence to leave the house.

“The government promised shielders a letter by the end of June giving us more details about how we can ease out of lockdown safely. That letter has not arrived.

“We feel forgotten and unimportant as the rest of the country go back to their new normal. We stay scared in our own homes.”

Hayley has not yet decided if she and Tommy will be going out come August 1.

But she is concerned about Tommy’s safety when all children have to go back to school in September and how vulnerable children will be kept safe. She also feels nervous about easing lockdown without speaking to Tommy’s consultancy team for reassurance.

“As Tommy’s mum I feel like the decision to let him ease out of lockdown has been left solely down to me.

“We haven’t been given any medical guidance at all. So should I let him go outside? Risk others not social distancing near him? Are the infections low enough? Is my anxiety making me irrational? I have so many questions and no answers.”

Muscular Dystrophy UK is the leading charity for 70,000 people in the UK with one of 60 rare and ultra-rare muscle-wasting conditions and has been campaigning for support from the government to continue, even when shielding is paused.

That is because some people will continue to shield past August1 and will still need access to food and medicines. Others who do decide to go out need to feel safe when they do.

Rob Burley, director of campaigns, care and support at Muscular Dystrophy UK, said: “Lockdown has been a stressful time for people like Tommy and Hayley. While the risk of being exposed to Covid-19 may be falling, the Government itself has said the potential impact on many people living with a muscle-wasting condition remains severe.

“It must ensure that nobody who feels the need to continue to shield is left isolated and alone. And people who would like to start coming out of shielding must be made to feel safe in doing so.

“Everyone who has been shielding has had a different experience, and it’s vital this is recognised. We’d urge the government to listen to people who are shielding like Hayley, and to continue to work with charities like Muscular Dystrophy UK.”

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